Monday, July 22, 2013

July 22nd 2013

Hey guys! How are things back home?
I am doing very well here in Brazil. The time is flying by! It has now been two months since I left my last area - I miss it a lot and I miss all my friends there, but the time is going by fast and I know that soon I will be able to see them all again. I got my "Official" Release Date this past week: November 4th, 2013! It is really coming to an end. How grateful I will always be for the blessing I have had to serve honorably as a full-time missionary. My testimony has grown so much in the past year and eight months. It has gone by way too fast! I remember when I first got on my mission, how hard it was, how much difficulty I had in learning the Portuguese language...and then once I got it down, I had that trial with the infection in my leg.
Looking back on it now, I see that the Lord was truly testing me and helping me to know how to work harder and how important it is to never give up. He will always help us as we strive to do what is right. He is ever by our side. I know this from personal experiences. The Lord's angels are working with us every minute of the day. Not just protecting us from danger and from temptation, but literally working side by side with us in this sacred work. I have seen their work and I have seen angels in the form of wonderful people who have changed my life for the better.
We are currently teaching a wonderful family that we found about two weeks ago. They went to the church for the first time yesterday and were so very excited to be there. The members were very inspired and motivated to see some success in the branch. I feel like things are just going to get better and better from here! I am grateful for the strong testimonies that the members of the Church in Brazil have.

I am grateful for the prayers that you offer for me. I know for a fact that because of your prayers, I am being blessed and protected and led to do what is right. I can't thank you enough! Know that you are always in mine :)
I love you!
-Elder Spencer D. Eastwood
PS: Maybe you should start a U2 marathon in my honor ;)

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 7th 2013

Hello my family and friends!
This week was an exciting one. President Kuceki arrived on the mission, although I still have not had the chance to meet him. He is coming to Rio Verde this weekend and we will get to meet him then. I am very excited! I already feel a great love and respect for him, because I know that he was called by a prophet of God to serve here. I can't wait to work with him!
This week was a week full of hard work. We found so many new families to teach this week. Something I learned was this: The Lord is accelerating His work in His own time, and because of the changes that are happening, I need to accelerate the way I work and change the way I do things. We are starting many new programs to work with the members in the branch here. I realized for the first time this week that we as missionaries, are the life-blood of this branch. If we stop working hard, if we stop being excited, the work is going to stop here. We are trying our best to follow the promptings of the Spirit and to accelerate our work. I feel so blessed to be here at this time. i can't wait to see what changes happen in the future!
It is funny how sometimes we get so caught up in trying to help others that we forget to apply our own advice in our lives! These past few weeks have been very difficult for me, but last week one of my friends gave me the same advice I give everyone: "Smile! :)" How true it is - when we smile, we can literally feel better, we can feel like we are making a difference - when we are keeping the commandments and doing what is right, we are blessed in all things. That is why one of my favorite scriptures is in Mosiah 2:41. I studied my patriarchal blessing this week and found lots of new insights....the Lord blessed me that I would have lots of trials and challenges, but that through these, He would help me to become a better Priesthood holder and a better person. How grateful I am for the trials and adversity that we all have. They shape us into who we are supposed to be.
I love my mission and I love this church! I know that it is true. The peace that I feel when I am doing what is right is peace that comes right from our Savior, Jesus Christ. How I love my Savior Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that we can always strive to follow His perfect example, and grow closer to Him each and every day.

Elder Spencer D. Eastwood

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1st 2013

Hello family!!! What a special blessing this week was! We had the Farewell Conference for Pres. and Sis. was so wonderful! I got awesome pictures (which I'm sending to you guys) and had a wonderful experience. The entire mission was meeting together to say goodbye to them. We had a great meeting and learned a lot. At the end, we got to have lunch and then say goodbye to Pres. And Sis. Prieto. I am going to miss them a lot. They have been such wonderful examples to me and I have learned a lot with them.

When I went to say goodbye to them, Sis. Prieto hugged me and thanked me for all that I did to help them out. Then she told me that she would never forget my smile and how grateful she was that everytime she saw me, I was always smiling. This is something I have tried very hard to do and it meant a lot to me that she noticed! :) Pres. Prieto hugged me and said that he would never forget me. He thanked me for all that I did to help him and we both got tears in our eyes. I love him so much. His influence will be with me for the rest of my life.

The highlight of the conference was at the very end when all the 140 missionaries sang "God Be With You Till We Meet Again". We did it 'flash mob' it appeared like it just happened onthe spot and wasn't plan. I swear, there wasn't a dry eye in the place. It has been a while since I cried that hard.

This week was a great week of work. We have a new zone leader here and the work is progressing. He and I are planning out new and awesome things for the zone to do to help the District Rio Verde become a stake. We are all so very excited!! We found lots of new people to teach and I am feeling a lot more excited and happy to be here. I am grateful for the opportunities that the Lord is giving me.

Here is a quote that I love from Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley....I read it often and I have used it to give advice to my friends here :)

" It isn't as bad as you sometimes think it is.
  It all works out. Don't worry.
  I say that to myself every morning.
  It will all work out.
  Put your trust in God,
  and move forward with faith
  and confidence in the future.
  The Lord will not forsake us.
  He will not forsake us.
  If we will put our trust in Him,
  if we will pray to Him,
  if we will live worthy of His blessings,
  He will hear our prayers."

Love you all!
-Elder Eastwood